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Bridging the gap between decomposition theory and forensic research on postmortem interval

Version 3 2024-06-19, 20:22
Version 2 2024-06-02, 23:26
Version 1 2023-08-24, 04:28
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-19, 20:22 authored by BM Dawson, M Ueland, DO Carter, D Mclntyre, Philip BartonPhilip Barton
AbstractKnowledge of the decomposition of vertebrate animals has advanced considerably in recent years and revealed complex interactions among biological and environmental factors that affect rates of decay. Yet this complexity remains to be fully incorporated into research or models of the postmortem interval (PMI). We suggest there is both opportunity and a need to use recent advances in decomposition theory to guide forensic research and its applications to understanding the PMI. Here we synthesise knowledge of the biological and environmental factors driving variation in decomposition and the acknowledged limitations among current models of the PMI. To guide improvement in this area, we introduce a conceptual framework that highlights the multiple interdependencies affecting decay rates throughout the decomposition process. Our framework reinforces the need for a multidisciplinary approach to PMI research, and calls for an adaptive research cycle that aims to reduce uncertainty in PMI estimates via experimentation, modelling, and validation.

History

Journal

International Journal of Legal Medicine

Volume

138

Pagination

509-518

Location

Berlin, Germany

ISSN

0937-9827

eISSN

1437-1596

Language

English

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Issue

2

Publisher

Springer